By Ann Marie Chandy
With a new English single out on the market, Fazura embraces life and wants to encourage everyone and not just women – with her message of self-empowerment: ‘love yourself and stay strong, no matter what comes your way’.
She may hail from the small town of Pekan, Pahang, but Nur Fazura Sharifuddin never let that stand in the way of her pursuing her passions whether it was fashion, television, the movie business or the glitzy world of recording music.
Hard work and a commitment to excellence has seen Fazura rise from strength to strength – and though she’s had her fair share of criticism, censure and condemnation on social media the 36-year-old beauty continues to add new feathers to her already formidable cap. Actress, singer, television host, VJ, entrepreneur, Fazura does it all, and shows no sign of slowing down even after tying the knot in 2017 with the handsome Fattah Amin.
Most recently in the spotlight for her newest music offering, Fazura – who’s signed to Universal Music Malaysia – is delighted with her English single, Can’t Forget Me, which was released in January and composed together with Los Angeles-based Willy Beaman and Cameron Forbes, who have previously worked with the likes of Tyga, Demi Lovato and Nicki Minaj. (Quick shout-out for Fazura who debuts as co-lyricist!)
The song was recorded in Los Angeles in the United States. Fazura shares: “The process took about five hours to write the song from scratch. And we recorded it the very next night in about four hours tops. It was such an amazing opportunity to be able to work with Cameron and Willy.
They brought out the best of my song thanks to their magic touch,” says Fazura. “I had the same people who have worked with some of my favourite international artistes working on my song too… I had to pinch myself, it still feels so surreal!”
The single is reported to be one of the most expensive Universal Music Malaysia has produced to date. There’s been a lot of hype that Fazura’s single is one of the most expensive Universal Music Malaysia has ever produced to date.
Kenny Ong, Managing Director of Universal Music Malaysia, Singapore and IndoChina shares: “We wanted to invest in her new single as we believe Fazura truly has the talent and drive to grow her name internationally.
“You can see how passionate and involved she was throughout the entire process – from writing the lyrics by herself for the first time, and working together seamlessly with big names like Willy Beaman and Cameron Forbes.”
Ong says they were pleased with how the video came out. “It was empowering and classy, and it definitely brought Fazura out of her comfort zone.”
One of the main themes of the single is self-empowerment. Fazura, who despite often being hurled brickbats from fans, has a string of accolades to her name including a Malaysia Film Festival Best Actress award (2015), relates: “It’s so easy to lose yourself when you’re faced with adversity and challenges. This song was inspired by so many amazing women I know who still manage to find the strength to celebrate themselves, despite going through immense pain and heart break.” Then quickly adds that this song is not just for the ladies – “it’s for anyone going through a hard time”.
In this exclusive Q&A, Pursuit pressed Fazura to share some of her thoughts on various subjects. Tell us more about the single Can’t Forget Me.
Crafting and recording a song in Los Angeles came about when my manager Kim (Kim Lim, Senior Director of New Business at Universal Music Malaysia) suggested we record in LA … and that just happened to be one of my dreams – to be able to work with producers and songwriters outside of Malaysia. I was in New York attending Fashion Week (in September, 2018) so I decided to take the opportunity to fly out to LA and make the song happen.
Are you happy with the video – what was the theme behind it, where was it made, and who’s the director?
The director is Fabian Joseph (film director-producer based in Kuala Lumpur, who has been in the industry for the past 15 years). He’s been a friend of mine for as long as I can remember and worked with me on numerous projects before, in film (Pisau Cukur) and a number of projects under KL Fashion Week. He’s always understood what I believe in and what I stand
for – about empowering women, being strong, sustaining courage. For this song, because it’s titled Can’t Forget Me, I wanted it to be a music video with a bang – with colours and great costumes – I wanted the lyrics I sing to be projected in a way that people would remember. The ideas for the video came from a collaboration between me, Fabian and the team members from Universal Music.
Can’t Forget Me is about empowerment – why is it important for women to empower each other?
It’s so easy to get weakened – by what people say to you, or what you’ve been told by others, it’s so easy for one to just listen to words and get weakened. Nowadays, with social media, that’s what’s been happening. I want to do my part, based on my experiences. I want women to understand how important it is to be strong, to be empowered. And to always rely on oneself.
Is it difficult being with the same record company as your husband Fattah? Any issues, or advantages? You’ve worked together – what’s that like?
Working together with my husband is always easy. I think from the beginning when we met on the set of Hero Seorang Cinderella, I knew that he was a very professional person. Being under the same management as he is – we’re signed to the same lable so it’s like being in “the same house” – it’s very convenient and a lot of fun. The advantage is we get to discuss similar matters with the management, and share goals in the process.
Married life – what keeps the love alive, what do you enjoy about being married?
I was once the type of girl who never really saw the importance of marriage or thought of it as the No.1 thing a girl had to do. I enjoyed the company of my family and friends instead, and even my work. But being married to Fattah has been a godsend to me. He’s very loving and supportive. He makes life easy. For me, one of the scariest things about getting married was being married to someone who would want to stop me from working … and Fattah is just not that type of a person. He’s all that I could ever want in a man.
What do you love most about your career – acting, singing, being in the limelight, engaging with fans, working behind the scenes or the business side of it all?
I love high profile projects but I’m a low profile person. I enjoy being a human being! (laughs) I enjoy working. My line of work comes with the limelight, but do I enjoy it? Well, you know, you get used to it after a while. I’m such a bad celebrity … I still get weirded out when people
stare at me. But I do enjoy acting a lot. I think that’s my No. 1 passion … and now singing! Singing was always my favourite thing to do since I was a kid.
As you progress in your career, especially in the Malaysian entertainment industry (and I’ve been in the industry for over 15 years now), you don’t want to do just one thing. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself – by singing, or producing. I do enjoy being an entrepreneur as well… so as for the many hats I wear – I enjoy them all thoroughly.
Everyone wants to know if you are expecting – what do you have to say about starting a family? Is that something you guys are looking forward to?
It’s only been a year since we got married. And we’re just enjoying each other’s company at the moment, and we’re both very busy. If anyone wants to know if I am expecting – I’m not. But as a married couple, we definitely want to have a baby … I guess it will happen when the time is right.
We’re celebrating International Women’s Day this month. Who have been the instrumental women in your life, and why?
My mother (Fadillah Nasir), of course. She’s been very strong, a rock, my backbone since I was born! I’ve always looked up to her. She’s very kind but she doesn’t take any BS. And I guess I got that from her. My grandmother is also very strong. They have both lost their husbands – my grandma and my mother – yet they are able to continue on their own, to survive and strive … go through all the laughter and tears with a lot of courage.
I also look up to many women out there my friends, my management team – every woman I meet has a story, and each one of them inspires me.
You have a fascination for handbags – got your first Chanel bag at 12 – why do you love bags so much, and what are the some of the essentials you carry in your bag? What bag do you use most frequently?
I use oversized bags most frequently because I’m a perfectionist so I have everything in my bag. I am also a bit of a “nurse”. If I had to choose a store to shop at – say between a clothes store or a pharmacy – I would defintely choose a pharmacy, because that’s where I can get everything that I need from lip balm to moisturiser to bandaids! I naturally carry a big bag so I have everything I need healthwise and beautywise. A woman carries bags all the time – men do too now … there’s murses, manpurses – because we all need all our stuff… our wallet, portable charger, lipstick, lip balm, cream, sunscreen, minyak angin ointment, pen, mint chewing gum … come on girls, you tell me… do you need a bag? Yeah, you do.